by Mosope Ominiyi
Despite the criticism that continues to surround Mesut Ozil, you’d be lying if you said he isn’t consistently getting better as a player.
After a stellar start to his career in north London, injuries and a lack of consistency hurt his form and he was often accused of ‘drifting’ out of matches, perceived to do little throughout the ninety minutes.
That opinion has not been the case over the past twelve months, especially after recovering from the injury sustained last October in the club’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea. Mesut has continued to improve and looks a better player for it. Not only has he strengthened, with the typical assumption being that he was not physical enough to survive in the Premier League initially, but he’s also linked up well with his team-mates showing exactly why Wenger forked out £42.5m for him two years ago.
The link-up play between himself and Alexis Sánchez, for example, is a pleasure to watch.
Mesut is always looking up to find a team-mate in space and the hard-working Chilean is always eager for the ball at his feet. Together, they are beginning to form a formidable partnership that can shift between midfield and attack in an instant on the counter. It’s one that has even drawn comparisons to that of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry back in the ‘glory days’, albeit prematurely.
Özil has started to silence his critics, and is going about his business quietly but efficiently. In chances created alone, Mesut tops the charts. In assists, which are one of his most eye-catching stats to date, he continues to add to his tally. Another dimension that he is adding to his game is goals. Five goals in all competitions last campaign, is admittedly not the best, and he’ll be hoping to improve on that tally ahead of the upcoming season. With two goals and three assists in pre-season alone he seems ready to take on more responsibility in front of the net.
A favourite with the fans, I have no doubts Mesut will enjoy an even more successful season with the Gunners.
He looks hungrier than ever and that’s when he’ll continue to flourish in an ever-improving Arsenal side as they aim to challenge Chelsea and the rest of their rivals for the title that has eluded them over the past decade.